Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog Festival Postponed

It's always disappointing when you are looking forward to something and then it has to be cancelled. That's what has happened to our Northern California Blogger Festival at the Green Pea that was coming up on October 9th. One of our committee members has a conflict with the date due to an upcoming surgery. We talked and agreed that we would rather reschedule than to continue on without her. As soon as we come up with an alternate date, sometime in the spring, we'll let you all know.

I am going to miss meeting all of you who signed up and hope that you will be able to make the next date. Hopefully the silver lining is that more of you will be available to attend and it will be bigger and better than it would have been.

Again, we are so sorry and hope that you are understand.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lunch With The Girls

Becky had called last week and said that Elizabeth and Pam were coming to town and could I join them for lunch. So I hopped in my car and off I went. We had a great time. First we went to lunch at a wonderful cafe near here. Then we managed to go to not one, but two antique shops. It's always fun to have friends that like the same things that you do, isn't it?

Elizabeth, Pam, Miss Jean and Becky

We stopped by Becky's home so the girls could meet Duhgall and Fiona. Dughall instantly fell in love, I mean, fell in love with Elizabeth. He was so sweet! The last stop was at my house so the girls could see the garden and meet Maggie. I don't know about everyone else, but if I even think someone is coming over I run around and get everything all nice and neat and clean. Pop on over to Pam's post to see what Maggie had waiting for us!

As many of you may know, Elizabeth and Pam are quilter's who design patterns. Beautiful patterns I might add. Check out Elizabeth's web site, Late Bloomer Quilts. Elizabeth has recently designed a line of fabric as well, Red Rose Farm. You can see it, as well as order it here at the Fat Quarter Shop internet fabric shop. It's so new I don't think it has hit many of the local shops yet, but it should soon. It is the sweetest fabric of vintage prints in clear, bright colors. Elizabeth was so generous to bring me a gift of a tower of fat quarters! How nice was that? If you zoom on the picture you can see her name on the label. I would be over the moon if I had done that, so I'm sure that she is too. Congratulations, Elizabeth!!!!

It was a wonderful day - friends, food, antiques and fabric. What more could you ask for?

I had many responses from my previous post about my quilt that had been put together incorrectly. I didn't know whether to leave it alone or take it apart and fix it. The consensus has been for me to leave it alone. It lays nice and flat now, and since there is so much bias going on, I could run the risk of stretching it out beyond repair. I've made an appointment with a local quilt shop that rents time on their long-arm quilting machine. My friend, Nikki, and I are going to spend the day quilting some projects that need done, including this quilt. I figure if I hurry and get it finished, I won't be tempted to take it apart in a moment of insanity!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secret Agent Man!

I've often read about lucky quilters that get to "stunt sew" for designers. They make the pattern that the designer has made, often using their fabric as well. You have to figure that designers don't necessarily have the time to make all of their samples themselves so they enlist the help of experienced and extra talented quilters.

Well, howdy doody, Miss Jean is doing some Secret Squirrel sewing. I'm doing some sewing for someone using some fabric that I already had on hand. Not that I'm that experienced and extra talented, but it's a friend so she asked me to help. That's all the information you are going to get out of me until the big reveal. I should have had the project finished by now, but it's been a rough week for me. Just look at the blue star banner on the side of my blog and you can guess why my mind has been elsewhere. Hopefully, I can get the project done asap and my Rock Star designer will be happy.

On another note, here is a quilt top that I have had tucked away for a long time. My friends and I went on a quilt retreat a number of years back and the project was a mystery quilt. The mystery ended up why in the world did we even go on the retreat. Lesson learned, all quilt retreats are not created equal.

Anyway, it's a complicated pattern and I knew I had twisted a couple of the blocks up but couldn't figure out what was wrong. I got it out the other day and decided to finish it. I like it now more than I did before.

I have finally figured out what the problem is. It is four blocks wide by six blocks long. The eight blocks of the top right quarter of the quilt are totally twisted. How did I figure it out? I printed out the above picture and cut out the twisted blocks and played with them until it was right. Sort of like a quilt puzzle. I didn't want to take it all out until I knew what to do. I suppose I could leave it but it would drive me crazy. Because there is a lot of bias going on I'm going to have to be careful picking it out so I don't stretch it. Then I'll put them back the way they should be and reattach the borders.

My question to you is this. Would you do it? For you experienced quilters, enlarge the picture and I think you'll see what I mean. As random as it looks at first glance, there is a definite pattern. Would you risk stretching it out? What to do, what to do!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zippity Doo Dah!!

Ok, folks! I told you on Friday that I was going to go do something adventurous. Boy howdy, did I ever!!! Let me preface this with a little fact about me. I am not athletic. I am not adventurous. I don't camp. I don't rough it. My husband always would tell people that my idea of "roughing it" was to eat on paper plates with the screen door open. Thanks honey! But oh, so true. I'm more of a "let's do tea and go to gift shops" kinda gal.

My sister's friend was coming for a visit and we wanted to do something fun and adventurous. Like I mentioned, Janice wanted to go sky diving. That was nixed right away. So what did we do? We went ZIP LINING!!!!! Me! Miss Jean!!! Went Zip Lining!!! Yessiree Bob!!! We had a blast!!! We drove here in Angels Camp which is about an hour from my house in the Sierra foothills. Be sure to check the link as they show videos of the zip lines.

The guys that run the place are sooooooo very nice and put up with us "old ladies" without complaint! (I'm sure there was a lot of eye rolling when we weren't looking.) This picture shows where you go initially to get all geared up. One funny thing that happened. After Janice and her friend were done, the fellow working said "Who's next?" Janice said, 'my sister, Jean." "Well, come on over here, Miss Jean!" Can't get rid of the Miss Jean name no matter what. It made me feel right at home.

Here we all are: Janice, Debbie and Miss Jean, all geared up and ready to go! See the tower in the background? That's where you take off from.

They drive you to the base and then you walk the path and across the swinging bridge. The bridge was the scariest part as far as I was concerned.

Here I am getting all ready to go! Janice is waiting for her second ride. Yes, we all did it twice! At first Janice and Debbie were really scared. Once I saw how they were rigged up and how safe it looked, my nerves were calmed.

You hold on but don't have to support your weight. All the straps and gears do that for you. You will not flip back or flip upside down.

I'm off!!!!

There is the end - waaaaayyyyyy down there! The ride goes really fast. 1,500 feet at approximately 40 miles per hour. I wish it lasted a lot longer.

Miss Jean, the Zip Liner!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

We would have gone all day long if we could have, but it's not cheap. We are planning on going back again (and again). Next time Janice wants to go head first Superman style. I haven't made up my mind if I'm that brave.

I'm really proud of myself. I conquered a fear and did something totally out of character for me. It feels really good. I wonder what I can come up with next? Hmmmmm? I think for now I'll just go have a cup of tea!

***Thanks for all of your words of encouragement and congratulations! This was one of the most fun things I have ever done. It wasn't scary at all! You have all got to try this! Trust me!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My sister just got back from a wonderful trip back to our home town of Battle Creek, Michigan. Yes, we're Kellogg's Kids! I think our entire family worked at the Kellogg's plant at one time or another. Janice's high school friend, Debbie, lives in Alaska. They met up in Salt Lake City and flew on to Michigan. Janice visited all the houses we grew up in, the schools we went to and even some of the restaurants we ate at. She had a wonderful time and after she had left I wondered why I hadn't gone along. She's going back next year again so this time I'll try to go with her. They got back here to California on Tuesday and they came by today to take me to lunch.

Miss Jean, Debbie, Janice

They are coming over tomorrow to pick me up and we are off on an adventure. I won't tell you what it is 'till I get back and I know I have survived! Of the three sisters (I'm the youngest) I am the least adventurous to say the least. Janice wanted to take Debbie somewhere extra fun and suggested sky diving. She had done it before and loves it. I don't like flying so why would I get in a plane that I don't like getting into just to jump out of it. Noooooo sireeeee bob! So we are doing plan "B".

"Mommy, you are doing WHAT?!" You have got to be kidding!!!!!"

"I'll be just fine, Maggie. At least I hope I will be. If not, just divide the quilting supplies and my antiques between Becky and Nikki! and take care of Daddy for me."


Sunday, September 5, 2010

In the Garden

Whew! I'm having company this week so I worked in the yard all day today. I got most everything done except fertilizing, cutting up a pile of branches and cleaning the furniture. Everything looks so nice. I told Sweety that I think that plants have feelings and know when they are cared for and appreciated. They seem to perk up when I fuss with them. He said, "you really like to do yard work, don't you?" Truth be told, for me it's a means to an end in the summer. I don't like hot weather and usually don't go outside and work as often as I should. In the spring and fall, however, you can't get me inside.

One thing that I have learned in gardening is to balance the plants with a few hard scape elements. It adds such a nice definition and contrast to the yard. Now, garden snob that I am, I am definitely not talking about plastic lawn ornaments and flamingos. I have a few nurseries in the area that always seem to have just the right treasure for me to tuck in among the flowers. I have lots of bunny statues and bird houses scattered around.

I love my Celtic Cross. Be sure to use white in the garden as it shows up so nicely in the evening.

You can use old found objects like this rusty tricycle tucked into a corner.

An iron filigree planter placed in another planter adds character and height.

Old chairs and bird houses can be re-purposed as planters.

A garden obelisk and a cat statue can give you something interesting to look at from inside the house.

When all else fails, you can get a dog to decorate the yard with!

"Stay, Maggie, Stay!!"